Shake it out

My grandmother ended her days in an asylum. Back in the day, that’s where crazy people were kept. I never knew the crazy side of her, but she did always have this sort of other worldly presence, almost as if she’d only just popped by from the land of the faerie to have a cuppa. Tall and thin, she smoked like a chimney, although pretended the habit didn’t exist. Probably not good traditional wife material.

My grandfather was a large presence in my younger days. I liked the old bloke. My dad left at an age where memories are few, so my grandfather took me under his wing. He was an ambitious old bloke too, with a lot of plans in his head, and he gave me what time he could. Probably conveyed some good life lessons over the years, not to mention gardening tips. Shame it was all wasted, me being too young to take it all in.

The old blokes home life wasn’t quite what he’d anticipated. An other-worldly wife and three daughters was probably not how he saw the world working out. That can happen, and he was thrown way deep into a feminine household. Would have been quite the shock after having served this country in WWII. The old bloke simply dusted himself off, and threw himself into his work, achieving great success. His household was probably somewhere between the land of faerie and the world the rest of us inhabit. And I reckon he washed his hands of any responsibility.

My mother was born into that strange household as the eldest of three girls. Pride can sometimes make a person pretend that they’re invulnerable, and my mum rarely shared stories of her childhood. The shared stories I did hear sure sounded pretty kooky. She dealt with her trauma by loving a drink and getting angry. Little wonder my dad left. A bit wild really. But like her father, she worked hard and kept a roof over our heads and food upon the table. When university was made free in 1974, she worked full time and studied part time earning an Arts degree, back when that meant something. She was busy.

My two older sisters ended up running the household. They were probably a bit young for that, but they more or less did OK. Mostly I did my own thing and kept out of the way of the drama, which trust me, that was for the best. Like what my grandfather ended up in, it was also a very feminine household. However, unlike him I wasn’t able to pretend it was someone else’s problem. A lovely lady I was speaking with the other day who was asking me about this story and made the observation: ‘Wouldn’t all that make you gay?’ A strange observation, to which I replied: ‘No. I’m me, and I like women’. The correct reply would have been: ‘Why did you say that?’, but I had no stomach that day for contention. It’s strange, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard such talk.

The observation got me thinking further about the whole story. Why would someone believe that? After much consideration, the core concern expressed by others is: “why wouldn’t you do as I have done?” It is not lost on me that there is a lot of pressure in society to conform to an ideal, even if the ideal is unachievable. Wonderful things ideals, they don’t even have to be realistic! However, my lived experience is such that I’ve observed plenty of people chasing that ideal, only to then crash upon the rocks of reality. And in among life, there can be a missed opportunities to go off and do something different with your time.

There’s plenty of different ways to get through life. Both Sandra and I have been burned by family, not to mention the economic recession we-had-to-have in the 1990’s. Faced with those experiences, we steered the juggernaut that is Fernglade Farm off in a different direction than most people would chose. It’s hard work, but we also have fun. It’s probably quite baffling for other people to see Sandra and I during normal working hours at our leisure enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a book. It ain’t all that bad.

Enjoying a hard earned break with a coffee and book

The profession we both work in has changed a lot in the past few years. For all sorts of reasons, it’s getting hard to take extended breaks. We’ve decided that the best way to navigate the constant work demands, is to take a bit of time of here and there. A few days ago we stayed in the city and went to see the stadium performance of the English band: Florence and the Machine.

Florence and the Machine perform at Rod Laver Arena

The performance was beautiful and a bit like being drawn into the land of faerie, although much, much louder. And after so many years and restrictions due to the health subject which dare not be named, it was lovely to hang out with tens of thousands of other people bopping along to the performance.

Torches. A good use for mobile phones at a stadium performance

On the way to dinner before the performance at a riverside bar, we crossed over a bridge and I spotted the largest steel rock gabion retaining wall, that I’ve ever seen. Shows where we might be able to go with these things!

Inspiration for us, and something for the engineers in the reading audience!

It’s a long weekend here due to the Labour Day public holiday. Every year at this time, the Moomba festival is held, so after dinner on our way to the gig, we walked through the festival and were amused by the carnies and horrified by the rides. A fun night!

The land of faerie is never far away, you have to be careful it doesn’t suck you in! Friday night the boundaries were a bit blurred as the night sky was lit up by a Ned Kelly full moon. A bit spooky really!

A proper Ned Kelly full moon seen lurking between tall Eucalyptus trees

The state government appears to have finally gotten off its backside and begun conducting some burn off’s around the mountain range. About time they got around to doing that work, and I guess it’s better than nothing. They’re just too careless and remote to do the job properly. There was one large burn off near to the base of the more fashionable western end of the mountain range.

The lower slopes of the more fashionable western end of the mountain range were burnt off

And another smaller burn off was lit near to the town of Macedon. I spotted the fire from here and hoped that whomever lit it, knew what they were doing.

A burn off near to the township of Macedon

The wind was blowing from the west, so the smoke mostly missed us. By late afternoon, the wind changed direction and arrived from the south. Again the smoke missed us although you could still smell it from here. A change in wind direction can be a very dangerous thing with a big fire.

The wind change really gave the small fire some energy

The weather has been remarkably pleasant this week. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right! A few weeks ago, we’d constructed three steel rock gabion cages with which we’d hope to build an inspection pit for the various machines we use here. Most of the machines sit pretty low to the ground, so getting underneath them for maintenance and repair purposes is not so easy. An inspection pit will sort that out. We just had to construct it.

A large flat area near to the large shed was dug. The three new steel rock gabion cages were placed on the flat area. Then we began the slow process of filling the cages with rocks which we’ve had to scrounge from all over the farm – even dismantling one existing gabion cage.

The three new steel rock gabion cages for the inspection pit were sited
Dame Plum assists with the work
The idea is to drive the machines onto the surface of the steel rock gabion cages

The idea is to drive the machines onto the surface of the steel rock gabion cages. Then I’ll be able climb into the crawl space and safely poke around the undersides of the machines and perform whatever maintenance or repairs are required. There is no fear of having the machines squash me with this arrangement.

We’ve done another round of tomato dehydrating this week. It’s nice to see the preserved tomato storage filling up again. It’s a lovely time of year for foraging in the garden. The other day I even noticed that the new hop vines have even produced some hops flowers.

Hops flowers are full of oils and are a very useful plant

The snow pea harvest finished this week, and I removed all of those vines from the garden row. They’ll get mulched up. There are plans to double the area for growing peas next summer. As the peas finish their harvest, the beans become ready.

After peas, comes the bean harvest

The grapevines are still only a few years old, so my expectations are low. But the most well established of the ten varieties is producing some good looking clusters of grapes. They’re still unripe though.

Yummy looking clusters of grapes are gaining size.

Onto the flowers:

I think these purple flowers are Catmint? Maybe? Any suggestions?
The Geraniums are enjoying the warmth
And Geraniums produce a huge diversity of colourful flowers
The Roses on this terrace are likewise enjoying the conditions – and recent feed

The temperature outside now at about 9am is 9’C (48’F). So far this year there has been 107.6mm (4.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 102.8mm (4.0 inches)

41 thoughts on “Shake it out”

  1. Chris,

    Just a quick note about the axe handle video. The hand tools he used were a draw knife, a standard rasp, and a spoke shaver. The draw knife you already knew. The rasp was the other largish hand tool. The spoke shaver almost looked like a narrow sanding tool. Gaggle “Kobalt 8 inch Dual-sided Coarse Tooth Woodcraft File and you should find something very similar to what he was using.

    A Gaggle of “Spoke shave” gave several interesting looking tools also. However, the vast majority of the hand tools were the draw knife and the rasp.


  2. Chris. for info: That plant identifies as common blue-beard (Caryopteris incana)



  3. Yo, Chris – Families have such weird, entertaining and cautionary tales. I’ve got a million of them.

    I’ll stick with realities. “Life on life’s terms.” Acceptance yields, I think, a happier life. No sense pining for things as they aren’t. Or blaming someone else, as often happens.

    LOL. Sitting around town with your cuppa and a book, well, if the neighbors are aware of your place, they probably thing you’re well to do, and have it all hired done. 🙂

    That’s a stunning picture of the full moon. Calendar worthy. Do they really call it a Ned Kelly moon? Our moons are also named, here. But most names seem to have a basis in Native American lore.

    Those are some fine looking green beans. And what will you do with the hops? Geraniums surprise, with their many colors and shapes. All, pretty. I bet the odor of the roses, about knocks you out.

    I read an interesting article, the other day. Of course we know Mark Twain’s quote, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The article mentioned “decorative statistics,” “junk statistics,” “statistics laundering,” and “junk data.” Most of which don’t have definitions, on Gargle. But you get the idea.

    I suppose you heard about the bank collapse. Why do I not feel particularly sorry for the Silicon Valley Tech Boys? Now, a second bank has bit the dust. Something to do with crypto currency. The Fed has said they’re not going to bail them out. We’ll see. The employees got a pretty lush severance package. Lew

  4. Hi Mike,

    Nice to hear from you, and many thanks for the correct plant identification. For some reason the name of that plant just doesn’t stick in memory – you may have noticed we’ve got a lot of stuff going on. 🙂



  5. Hi DJ,

    Awesome! Ah, I missed the spokeshave. It looks like a sort of two handed pull through mini-planer. Probably do some good fine work too. I’ll have to think about getting one of those – and bizarrely, they make them in the big smoke with replaceable blades.

    The draw knife and rasp I already have, as well as bastard cut files, so those should do the majority of the job. Honestly, I looked on with envy at the bandsaw and belt sander, but have a jigsaw and small electric chainsaw (and files and hand sandpaper) which will do pretty much the same job albeit with a bit more effort and care on my part. But a bandsaw… Hmm… Could be necessary?

    Hey, thought you might be interested in a local company that supplies some quality woodworking tools: Timbecon. That’s where I got the drawknife from. So many tempting tools… 🙂

    Budgets, what are these things? 😉

    Hope you, your lady and Avalanche are all doing well and aren’t snowed in.



  6. Hi Lewis,

    I so hear you about handling the newspapers way back in the day. My hands used to get blackened by the newsprint – which you’d understand. And on those winter mornings when it was cold and the weather was inclement your hands would ache from the biting cold. And when it rained, in the wee hours of the morning it was still dark, I’d chuck the newspapers onto the front door – thus out of the rain. Going the extra mile for the customers usually lead to decent Xmas bonuses. 😉 Except in the old folks home. They were a bit different for some reason. As a mercenary little thing, cold hard mad cash would soothe the savage beastie, but some of the oldies used to knit me tea cosies. The odd gifts were accepted with good grace, but internally the cogs were asking the hard questions: What the? The grandmother I mentioned in the blog this week used to regularly give me a very nice and neat pack of three carefully rolled handkerchiefs as a present for Xmas. I don’t remember being a snotty child… Fortunately my grandfather recognised the strangeness and did me a solid and provided a more acceptable gift. He knew.

    Your dream took you back a few years, and just between you and I, the early mornings weren’t my cup of tea either, however the mad cash was worth the pain. 🙂 Hey, I had a weird dream early this morning. A huge big aircraft crashed into the valley below the farm. Man, the thing just fell out of the sky, fell like a sack of spuds it did. Quite the chunk of mayhem, and I even recall calling it in to the authoritas. A bonkers dream. Perhaps a premonition about those banks?

    They do say that patience is a virtue, and like you I tend to agree. However, you raise an important distinction there: time wasters need not apply. Performers usually have a set list which they stick to, and it does no harm to wait until the conclusion of the gig. Probably respectful too.

    Hehe! Yeah, no worries about the tat. I recall that, and as you rightly say, it ain’t no business of mine to comment. My words were only ever intended to be applied to myself.

    My gut feeling suggests that lost books, are perhaps lost books and will stay that way. Mate, even vellum only lasts so long. I noted recently that attempts to re-establish the old hemp industry are under way. Everything old, is new again!

    Oh yes, I totally understand the angst due to the loss of the hour. Always takes me about a week to adjust. It’s in transit here, but has not yet arrived. Something to do with a slow boat. The Estimated Date of Arrival is 2nd April. Hopefully the hour is properly insured whilst it is in transit?

    I’d read about the low level snow in California. Brr! And probably something the locals had not expected. Sure they’ll pump the water underground, just like the promises that carbon will be extracted from the atmosphere then stored in the ground. When it happens to any great extent, I’ll believe it. It may be one of those things that sounds good in theory.

    Hehe! Hey, you got me there with the film. Whatever else you can say about the actor, he made an excellent film. Give it a try, go on, you might enjoy it too. 😉

    The trailer looks good and the series recommendation has been forwarded onto the Editor. Bryan Brown. Cool!

    Good to hear about the ‘new blood’ with the Master Gardeners. Living in a rural area, I can see sometimes that properties get re-invigorated by ‘new blood’, and the implications of that expended energy spread outwards – not to everyone’s approval of course, but to most. I presume they have some sort of group and activities or something like that? How does that group work?

    Hehe! There was a lot of other-worldly stuff going on last week, so the blog story kind of dipped into that energy pool and discovered more strangeness, but way off in the past. And the full moon was just asking to be photographed. All part of the energy waves man! 😉

    I agree, acceptance is a state of mind that’s important to reach. It’s hard to know what goes on in other folks minds, but I’ve observed that there is a lot of tension in people where their generally held concepts of reality don’t quite mesh with what is going on. A bit of a bummer, but a touch of flexibility with mindset can do wonders, and I’m genuinely stumped to see folks not letting go when things don’t work out. And yeah, that blaming of other people gets a good work-out, it being a top down thing and all. There’s an old saying which we’ve discussed before that a fish rots from the head. Yup.

    The more distant neighbours aren’t really aware, that’s the thing. But there’s some quiet money over on that more fashionably western end of the mountain range, and so maybe we’re getting something of the halo effect? Dunno. That’s possibly true about believing that all the work is paid for and we’re just the puppet masters, except we ain’t! Hehe! What a lovely thing that would be, alas the truth be otherwise. We filled up those three new rock gabion cages today. Many of the rocks came from an abandoned drainage project, and we were very pleased at just how many rocks we extracted. We finished late, and tomorrow is apparently a digging day. Who knows what we’ll achieve tomorrow, but something will probably happen.

    Long ago, the full moon in a clear night sky used to be called a Ned Kelly moon. It’s an old saying you don’t hear much used nowadays. Ned was a bushranger who was eventually captured and hung. Had a big old steel armoured suit too. In those ye olde days the local constabulary were no fan of the Irish settlers, and one in particular kept unnecessarily poking the Kelly family. As you’d imagine, things ended badly, and a bushranger came to prominence for his and his associates life of crime. They were pretty good woodsmen, and were able to operate during the additional light of the full moon – thus the name Ned Kelly moon.

    The hops flowers are for another season. The flowers seem to have some very interesting and useful properties, one of which is killing off yeasts in brews, and imparting a certain flavour. But if they can do that trick, they may have other uses. The Roses are stunning, and I put down a very large bucket of feed just prior to a bit of rain. We’ve got a run of hot days coming up, so I’ll be interested to see if they bloom in response. And yup, many of the roses are David Austen varieties which have a very lovely floral scent. When the sun hits those rose terraces, the smell is really something else.

    Hehe! All those names are very useful descriptions of BS. 😉 They are self explanatory, aren’t they?

    Yeah, I heard about that bank thing. Hmm. Apparently they specialised in start ups – a risky investment in my books. I noticed they were part of the fed insurance thing, which I’m told is the same as down here: up to $250k and no greater deposits. The banks down here already have in place an at-call loan of something weird like $360bn. You know, just because… There was some loose talk that the higher ups in that bank off loaded their positions only very recently. That may possibly be a criminal act, if someone thinks to do something about such actions.

    A major builder up north collapsed. Costs exceeded income or something like that.

    Crypto has never made any sense to me. Maybe I’m just not smart enough.



  7. Yo, Chris – What every young man needs: a collection of tea cosies. Could you at least wear them as gloves? 🙂

    “The Daily Impact” blog, uses a falling airliner as a graphic. Hmmm. I see a third bank bit the dust, this morning. Three times, a charm?

    Oh, I don’t know. The ancient Greek poet Sappho is known to us, but what remains are a few poems and some fragments. A couple of years ago, a few more lines turned up in an Egyptian rubbish heap, and the Classics world went wild.

    Well, I see “Everything Everywhere All at Once” pretty much swept the Academy Awards. I saw it. An interesting and entertaining film. Worth a bowl of popcorn. But such accolades? I don’t know. I see the film you were plumping for won an award … for “Achievement in Sound.” 🙂 I’ll still pass. The testosterone overload would probably kill me.

    Speaking of testosterone, Bryan Brown is kind of the archetypal Australian man. I started watching season two, of “Whitstable Pearl.” It’s modern mysteries, set in a sea side town, outside of London. Engrossing mysteries. Always a lot of tension, between the locals and the DFLs. That’s, “Down From London.” 🙂 You might mention it to The Editor.

    The Master Gardeners usually have a plan for the year. Goals. Plus whatever comes up along the way. There’s three old timers, and they pretty much direct the action. The newbies have to complete so many hours, of work, to get their Master Gardeners Certificate. And, I think, have to come up with some sort of project.

    Yes, the accounts are insured for 250k. But, when you’ve got millions in deposits, probably cold comfort.

    Prof. Mass, the weather guy, called it, this morning. “La Nina is Collapsing.” Though as to what that means, for our weather, he hasn’t said. Of course, it could be a neutral state, for a time. Called “ENSO neutral.” ENSO stands for “El Nino Southern Oscillation.” I think the Professor had a cleaver name for it, but I forget what it was.

    I watched a Nova special, a couple of nights ago. About the reconstruction of the Notre Dame cathedral, in Paris. After the fire, Nova had a special about the road ahead. This was an update. They’re shooting for a 2024 reopening, as that’s the year of the Summer Olympics, being in Paris. 200 people, a day, are working on the building.

    There were some interesting bits about reconstructing the “forest” of oak timbers, that were between the stone vaulting, and the roof. Luckily, a complete survey had been done, in 2014. Interesting how they picked out the new trees, and milled them. The original construction was done with green timber.

    Another interesting thing they discovered, was that once the roof was off, some construction details were uncovered that they were entirely unaware of. Such as, the entire upper course of blocks were held in place by iron staples. Now, the Romans had used iron staples, but in a different way. Also, Paris in the 1200s, must have had a lively trade in recycled iron. They analyzed the staples, and discovered their original sources, were from all over western Europe. Lew

  8. Hello Chris
    Gorgeous photos and the family history was very interesting. I am always fascinated by other peoples lives.
    At the moment my sister in the US is dying. Her poor husband is sitting with her every day and updates me. She is in Delaware and her descendants will be arriving there from Texas today.
    She is the only human being left who knew me before I was 20. I will be glad when her suffering is over.


  9. Hi Inge,

    Thank you about the photos, the full moon was really interesting how it shone through the tall trees foliage. The light was quite eerie really. It was something of a week of other worldliness, and those experiences suggested the story. It’s been an interesting life.

    Time unfortunately has that habit. I wish your sister a peaceful exit from this life, and hope that the hole left in your own heart after her passing remains filled with the joy of life.

    With condolences for your impending loss,


  10. Hi Lewis,

    I like how your brain works, and that’s a handy suggestion in relation to the tea cosies. Unfortunately, Christmas is summer time down under, so the thought never even crossed my mind to use them as gloves, but it could have worked, at a pinch.

    I may have missed that falling aircraft graphic over at the Daily Impact. Frankly, I skipped the latest essay. Things are different down here because there is a goodly dose of apathy when it comes to politics. However, ex-leaders regularly come back like zombies spitting vitriol and biting, and they do so for the publics entertainment. Are we entertained? I’d have to say so, yeah. The discourse is remarkably consistent from that lot.

    Three banks in a short period of time is an impressive effort. Two of them had something to do with crypto which I basically don’t understand. And that big one, whoo whee! Him big melt down. I noticed that all deposits have been guaranteed by the big guys with the printing machine. That’s an unusual step. If it was down here, anyone with a combined balance of more than $250k+ would get zip, nada! Those folks are considered sophisticated investors and should know about stuff like: Diversifying… It’s not a complicated matter to understand. Ordinarily that’s the case in your country too I believe. The local news down here made an unusual observation about the deposit holders: Will Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse spark a US recession with ripple effects across the globe?

    The relevant quote from the article is: “(Mr) Every says deposits in SVB were largely made by tech startups and “rich Californians and Democratic party donors, reportedly including Harry and Meghan, and Oprah”. Nice for some… 😉

    Looks like the shareholders, unsecured creditors and I’m assuming the big boys debt printing thing whatever it is books are on the hook for the loss. How it all came about appeared to be quite idiotic to me, but that’s just my opinion.

    Mate, I have a vague memory of the fragment of the ancient poetry turning up years ago. Was it any good?

    Hehe! Whatever man. You know you’re only not watching the film because you know that deep down, you’ll enjoy it! 🙂 Hey, don’t you reckon the core issue is why is the entertainment industry doing what it does? And the awards ceremonies have taken on a more active role which looks like a lot of social policy grandstanding to me, but again just an opinion.

    I can see that about Bryan Brown. He sets a tall bar for us mere mortals to hurdle! Interestingly, one of his earlier, big break through movies was: Breaker Morant (film), which I thought was pretty good and recounted a complicated story effortlessly, and has been well received internationally, but didn’t make all that much mad cash. Guess it may have been the subject matter? Dunno.

    Yes, out of towners and their big idears. 🙂

    Thanks for the explanation as to the Master Gardeners. Did they ever get a chance to visit that other large urban food garden we mentioned many months ago? It may have been run by the Salvo’s?

    It’s pretty early to even say what it means. It could be an ENSO neutral outcome. Too early to call, but I do know that something will eventuate! 🙂 Stay tuned.

    You’d mentioned the reconstruction of that huge cathedral from the fire. An update, interesting. 200 people per day isn’t all that many on the construction given the size of the building. I can’t imagine that the builders are using green timber now, maybe? Good luck with that. 🙂 The use of iron staples in the block work would have given the tall stone walls some added stability. I was mildly alarmed years ago to discover that brick walls aren’t quite as strong as you’d imagine them to be. Always exciting when you’re underneath. Down under we use timber frames to give the brick walls their rigidity when it is only a single skin (older Victorian era buildings used two or more bricks in parallel and are stronger for it) – and the things need it. I’ve laid some brick walls, but aren’t really much of a fan of the material, but people sure do love it.

    Yesterday the rock gabions were filled, so today we begun (ta da!) to excavate a flat work site in front of the large shed. Got about half the job done too. It was pretty warm in the sun, and I feel that my face is slightly sunburned. Oh well. Anyway, I got the rototiller onto the job and let it do the digging (still no easy job to hang onto 7.5 bucking and ferocious horsepowers of a machine). We then moved all of the loosened soil by hand tool. Me tired, but satisfied. That’s what I do on my holidays. 🙂 Having this week off work.



  11. Hello Chris
    Here we are covered for up to £85,000 in a bank account, but this figure can suddenly alter.
    I see that HSBC has bought the British arm of SVB (the American collapsed bank} for £1.


  12. @ Inge,

    I too express my condolences and wish your sister an easy passage. Your sadness at the loss of the shared memories of early times with your sister comes through your words.


  13. @ Inge – I’m sorry to hear about your sister. May her passing be peaceful and pain free. Lew

  14. Yo, Chris – By the time you’d unravel the tea cosies, and knit gloves, it would be winter, again. 🙂

    I saw the “Daily Impact” had a couple of new posts. But didn’t mention them as they were mainly political, and flogging a dead horse.

    I saw an article about the failed banks, and they were referred to as a “house of cards.” The Emperor’s New Clothes, came to my mind. First they said there would be no bail out. Now, it sure looks like a bail out, but they’re not calling it that. People who pay attention (like my buddy Julia) are sure brassed off. As far as the “rich Californians” go, is that real, or just junk data? 🙂 Those kinds of people aren’t very “hands on” as far as their money goes. They have financial advisors … and accountants. There were several banking regulations that were repealed, by the last administration, that would have helped thwart the bank’s meltdown.

    Were the Sappho fragments good? I just remember that they were pretty, well, fragmentary and sketchy. Give me Edna St. Vincent Millay, any day.

    I don’t know if the Master Gardeners checked out the Salvo gardens, or not. If I remember, I’ll ask them, tomorrow.

    Nope. They’re using green timber, as, that’s what was used in the original building. They had a photo of an English steeple, that had gone wrong. A regular corkscrew. But apparently, there are ways around the problems. I even vaguely remember a book, “Building with Green Timber.” Oh, my. A glance into the rabbit hole reveals several books on building with green lumber.

    Bricks look “warm.” So do your gabion cages, but in a different way. But, as my friend Bricklayer Bill pointed out, bricks say “money.”

    LOL. Had a dream yesterday, that I went to the store and there were no bananas! Except for four, quit large good looking ones, that I grabbed. Then I wandered down to the milk case and it was empty! But an old guy was unloading milk, and I asked if he had any almond milk. He did not. I told him I was going to take the bananas out to the parking lot, and when a big enough crowd had gathered, I was going to auction them off to the highest bidder. 🙂 Then I awoke.

    I had a run-in with a policeman (maybe, he was a policeman), in the parking lot this morning. If I end up dead, you know who did it. Luckily, another inmate witnessed the whole thing, and reported it to our building manager, before I had a chance to.

    I saw an article on needless worry. In the Atlantic. It attributed a lot of it to “…politic induced fatigue, insomnia, loss of temper and impulse control.” I bet there’s a pill for that. Or maybe, a computer app. Of course, my Worry of the Day, is that people will stop needlessly worrying, and the Worry of the Day Calendar will be a dead issue. Lew

  15. Chris,

    I ‘ve got my dad’s old jigsaw. I’ve never used it, but a lot of experienced people at the club use jigsaws to rough out their projects. Others use bandsaws for the larger items. Dunno which will work for you, but I would see how the jigsaw works before I bought a bandsaw. YMMV.

    You can get a LOT done with a drawknife and a rasp and sandpaper. Never seen or used a spoke shave, so can’t really comment.

    Timbecon? Lotsa interesting stuff there. Cool!

    That moon photo is spectacular. Ned Kelly moon indeed. Add in some wispy smoke tendrils to the fog/clouds and I’d expect to see vampires and werewolves and zombies also.

    Interesting family history you talked about. Genetics and environment can shape us, but we can still learn, with some luck, how to know ourselves and become ourselves despite inherent roadblocks. Or maybe I fool myself into thinking so. 😉 But finding the gumption to also turn a deaf ear to societal “norms” and peer pressure is also needed and is hard to do, at least initially. Seems to gain momentum once it has gotten some traction.

    Not snowed in. Not even close. 60 hours above freezing, rain, wind, temps +10C and higher melts the snow rather quickly. A few odd patches left in well shaded areas is all. I can start raking last fall’s leaves this week.

    You and Sandra are not the only ones to get burned by family. We have occasional discussions about that very topic here. Making lemonade from those lemons is easier said than done but is necessary. AKA, “you’ll get over it or you’ll lead a miserable life”, or something to that effect. 🙂

    I’ve seen large gabions before, but that has to be one of the larger ones I’ve seen. Lot of work to do that. Thanks for the photo.

    I looked up Macedon on a map. Macedon, Australia. Noted that there is a nearby hamlet Sunbury. I’ve got a few ancestors from Sunbury. Sunbury, Pennsylvania. Never been there, though.

    Hope your vehicle maintenance idea works out. Sounds interesting. I’m sure you’ll keep your readership informed about how it works and what adjustments you make.

    I think your grapes will ripen just fine. Dad grew 3 varieties of grapes. They tended to ripen in late September and October. A bit of frost didn’t seem to hurt them. There are areas south and west of here that grow a lot of grapes and have large wineries. Oh, and a few wineries in Spokane, too.

    Careful with those hops. “You are what you eat.” Eat a lot of hops, become hoppy, start to fraternize with the wallabies. Best to start out slower and hop with the pobblebonks first.

    By popular demand (by decree of the Princess), I’m redoing the front landscaping this spring/early summer. We need something that takes less maintenance. I’ll have to remove a lot of things that aren’t working, transplant some others, then liberally reseed with dryland grass and wildflower seeds. A lot of work to start, but it should make things a lot easier on the eyes and easier to maintain.


  16. Hi Inge,

    Down under I believe the limit is $250k combined in whatever accounts per institution. Any more than that total and I believe a person is considered a sophisticated investor and really should sort of know this stuff – you’d be surprised though!

    What interests me with the recent issue over in the US is that apparently all deposits (of any size) were guaranteed. I can’t quite shake the thought that such a policy will encourage recklessness. But it wouldn’t be the first time that outcome has been the case with that particular sector.

    You’d hope that the HSBC folks know what they’re doing…

    We’re having an Indian summer down here. It feels quite hot in the sun which is really quite strange given that the autumn equinox is next week. Oh well. What, me worry?



  17. Hi DJ,

    Jigsaws are sort of like a mini hand held bandsaw with about a four inch cut. A useful machine, however the blades have been known to snap. Mine is a couple of decades old, but the blades are readily available. Tell you what though, I like your style having a bandsaw, and was drooling over the thought of them. A very useful machine. Might have to wait for one of them because they are expensive. Do you have any useful advice based on experience if choosing a machine?

    What is this YMMV – Perhaps: Your Monster Mobile Village? Surely you didn’t mean that?

    Ah, good to hear as those two are the main hand tools I’ll use once I’ve cut the rough shape of the handle out of a block of hardwood.

    The moon photo was asking to be taken, and yeah those characters may have been in the vicinity – I wasn’t hanging around long to find out. The Big J said: Blessed are the fleet, for they survive. Although that bit in the sermon on the mount was edited out, you may have heard of other cancellations? Anyway, stuff like that moon happens a lot around here. Dare I suggest that last week, the moons aligned?

    No, I don’t believe that you are fooling yourself, unless I’m also fooling myself. My brain is now exploding!!! Man, you play the cards you’re dealt as best you may. Others, do things differently, and that’s cool. I agree, it does get easier over time.

    We’re having something of an Indian summer, so your weather sound horrendous to my reading ears! What? Were the fall leaves hiding under all that snow? They tend to break down into a mooshy mass of unidentifiable organic matter during late winter here. A sticky mess to be sure.

    Mate, it’s been said that the best revenge is to lead a good life. I’m bemused by people who use inheritance as a tool for power, abuse and control. They just don’t consider that an energetic person will tell them to ‘go f!@# themselves’, and arrange their life so that dead folks money is not required. It’s quite sad really, because generally those folks received an obligation from their ancestors. However, when an objective view is applied to the wider perspective of our civilisation, the awful question is often avoided: What kind of world are we leaving to future generations? Mine and Sandra’s issues pale into insignificance when compared with that thorny issue. Last I checked, you and I ain’t in charge of this here civilisation ship and all we can do is but our best. 😉

    The gabion thing was huge. Hope they know what they were doing, although it looked very stable and settled to me.

    You’ve probably never been to Sunbury down this way either! 🙂 It’s probably a fine part of the world where your ancestors lived, maybe, noting that they did leave if only because the facts suggest that you are now elsewhere. Down this way, that town is the largest big commercial centre on the way into the big smoke from here, and the end of the electric train line in this direction (the country trains continue past that point though). It’s my go-to place to get commercial stuff.

    Thanks and there’ll be some photos of how the pit project is going in a few days time.

    The grape vines are only a few years old so my expectations of them are rather low, and amount to: please survive and grow.

    Funny you mention that about the hops, always a risk. Took the day off work today and visited a nearby microbrewer. They had a Pale Ale which had a citrus and hops flavour and was called: Big Roo. 🙂 The name was derived from the now extinct megafauna. A 150kg Kangaroo. Not a beast to be trifled with. There’s a nearby swamp with rich fossil deposits (apparently quite recent deposits): Lancefield Swamp. But mostly we went to the microbrewery for lunch and to sample their beers. Our needs are modest. 😉

    Yikes! Hope the things that aren’t working in that area are not massive trees? Always something of a problem requiring some decent tools. Ah, you’re intending to make a dryland meadow. Make sure you include plenty of wildflowers in there, the insects will love it. Although, dare I mention fire risk and proximity to the house? Something to think about. We have the crushed rock with lime toppings all the way around the house for that reason – fire risk. Continuity of fuel equals continuity of the fire run.



  18. Hi Lewis,

    Mate, some winter mornings were so cold and rainy doing that newspaper round job that I would have welcomed the tea cosy for use as gloves just as they were. 🙂 I did so many years of that work that I do wonder if my distaste for early mornings began back then? Can’t complain really, the work paid well enough for my needs at the time.

    Those sort of articles bore me. There’s no current political solution for the predicaments facing our civilisation and perhaps that is why so much heated air is generated by true believers? Admittedly some changes in that lot can assist things for some folks, but there are usually costs for others and few can seem to agree what we’re trying to even achieve as a civilisation. Anyway, hot air can’t produce more oil or decrease pollution can it? Well, at least when I last checked that wasn’t possible. And did I not mention our penchant for ex-leaders putting their twenty cents in? Here’s a classic example from today: Paul Keating savages AUKUS nuclear submarine deal as Labor’s worst since conscription. Maybe the ex-leaders are bored, or the media is bored, but I don’t really know. The vitriol is entertaining, and that’s about where it stops. My other grandmother (not the one I mentioned in this week’s essay) would have said that they were: ‘Carrying on like a two bob watch’. An amusing observation, the watch being overly cheap and all.

    Yeah, we’ll probably hear more about the bank story as time goes on. Despite words to the contrary, my gut feeling suggests that the public will end up bearing the cost of guaranteeing the deposit holders funds. There’s a point reached with that industry where if they don’t fail and get to face the music, then a sort of learned recklessness enters the picture, and things will probably only get worse. After all, if it doesn’t matter, it might not matter. And that may be so about repealing the legislation, but the protections weren’t put back in place were they with a change in parties? As far as I can understand the story, relying on financial services to achieve certain economic goals, well, it’s kinda like standing at the top of a slippery slope. There’s only down to go. Things might stabilise, but the decision was made in the past, and by and large people seem pretty happy with the outcomes. I’d prefer to live in a world where we made useful physical stuff to sell to others, but I’m old fashioned.

    Oh that is great work. I particularly enjoyed The Little Tavern and Afternoon on a Hill. Wow.

    Thanks for consenting to ask the Master Gardeners about that garden. Ooo, it’s just begun raining, then stopped again. That’s a surprise as nothing was mentioned in the forecast. The folks in charge of such things are doing another controlled much larger burn way off to the west of here. You could see the smoke late this afternoon and fortunately it didn’t drift in this direction but the nearby township was getting smoked out.

    Yes, I absolutely agree with you about the message that brick buildings send to the casual observer. They just don’t work all that well in this particular environment. I’m of the opinion that the cultural preferences shifted following the aftermath of The Great Fire of London. Rows of adjacent timber buildings was something of a problem. 🙂 Ook! But then brick housing is also something of a problem, but what do I know.

    I’ve been reading that tomatoes are in short supply down in this part of the world due to the bonkers summer weather: Shifts in weather are causing Italian families to rethink an inter-generational tradition.

    Hehe! Hope you don’t get to live out that dream. Imagine if the banana auction heated up and people got angry? That my worry of the day: What if people get collectively very angry when one of us quips to an audience: What me worry? They might think we’re dissing them. Always a risk.

    That’s serious business, and such run ins can end badly, and have done so. Exercise caution. Yup. A good nights sleep and less stress might also reduce the incidence of people being so amped up. It’s not good.

    Did I mention that the Editor was very pleased with the Bill Hodges trilogy box set of books? We spoke about the character Holly, and the Editor had encountered the character in the book: ‘If it bleeds’. An enjoyable character and I can see why Mr King would find her to be a favourite.

    We took the day off work today and visited a local microbrewery (Lost Watering Hole) in a nearby town for lunch and to taste their wares. There’s a swamp out of the town which is a notable thing for the town as it contains a lot of fossilised megafauna remains. The microbrewery played on that theme and named their beers after some of the megafauna. I rather enjoyed the Swamp Rat dark ale. Very good. I don’t really enjoy alcohol during daylight hours, but today we made a special exception which was very pleasant. A relaxing day. Work tomorrow. 🙂



  19. Nature vs nurture- the question forever posed on why we do what we do. Even families that look idyllic and “normal” from the outside can harbor patterns and attitudes that will challenge and set children on a rough path.

    I’ve always been fascinated by the phenomenon of kids overcoming a lousy upbringing to make a good life for themselves, and the opposite examples of kids who had every advantage and attentive parents who then go off the rails. Is there some key period of early childhood that if certain things happen or don’t happen, lock us in to a fate that is hard to change? We may never know.

    I see how my siblings have fared, and can affirm that results vary. Having an alcoholic dad and an overwhelmed mom ( 10 kids) was stressful, but some of us got a handle on life, and some did not.

    Anyhoo, our onion seeds have sprouted in the sunroom, I’ve made my 2023 project list (yikes!), and winter is fading here. Have been experimenting with hazelnut recipes this winter, and have some winners, some losers. After pressing for oil, the left over press cake can be used in various baked goods, and the chickens just love it.

    The banks- just one more roll of thunder, one more shift in the wind as the storm gathers. If folks are still in the hand wringing stage, and not taking concrete steps to be more self reliant, well……..

  20. @ all
    Thanks for the kind comments. My sister died early this morning; at least it was not horribly prolonged.


  21. Yo, Chris – Yes. I’m bored with politics, to.

    Banks: Bring back the Glass Steagall Act! (Also known as, the Banking Act of 1933.) It was put in place to curb the worst excesses, of banks. Steadily eroded, over the years.

    The term “burning your candle at both ends,” comes from a Millay poem.

    Saw the Master Gardeners, this morning. They had forgotten about the Salvation Army gardens, and are talking about a field trip. But first, they’ve got to get past their huge, yearly sale. This year, it will be on Mother’s Day, May 14th. I potted up 10 flat leafed parsley and 5 German camomile, for the sale. I’ll be doing some other things. They did a bit of pruning (finished the grapes, and a couple of current bushes.) Also, started digging out some of the beds, to replace the top wood stringers. They also potted up this and that, for their plant sale.

    Seems like every time a city has a great fire, they tighten up their zoning laws. More brick, wider streets, etc..

    That was a sad article about the decline of passata making. Sounds like some people are developing plan “Bs.” Someone, somewhere, will always be making passata.

    You hear stories … Was the cop, really a cop? And I’m not the only one that thinks that. Or, might have just been a rent-a-cop from the treatment center, across the street. Some of them, do get delusions.

    A house about four houses down on our street, just went on the market. A well kept, older cottage type of house. Asking price? $349,500. According to the listing, it’s already got a sale pending. Lew

  22. @Inge

    I am so sorry to hear about your sister. In many cases we share our life longest with our siblings. It can leave such a hole in your heart.


  23. @ Inge,

    That is sad news about your sister. Condolences and hopes that you remain strong are headed your way.


  24. @ Chris,

    Like with you and Lew, politics is getting old and boring to me. Adapting to the general unsolvable things is more important. Like Lew, the Glass-Steagall Act needs to be brought back in this country in my opinion. It seems that without fail, every time more of the Act is legislated away, there are economic catastrophes. Ugh.

    YMMV: Either “Your Mother Made Videos”, or “Yogurt Makes Me Vicious” or “Your Mileage May Vary”. I typically mean the last one. Usually.

    I’ve never used a bandsaw. In fact, I’ve never used the jigsaw I got from dad. I can use power saws for cutting big things, like firewood and lumber for large projects. Smaller things like bandsaws and jigsaws and scroll saws? I get, umm, errr, maybe clumsy at times. That mixes not with the smaller saws. I still have all 10 fingers but would likely lop off one or 6 if I used a bandsaw or something. I have actually cut myself when carving wood even though I was wearing thick leather carving gloves. I have a better feel for the knives and wood now and am more careful. Much more careful.

    I WILL ask about bandsaws at carving club this weekend. Some of the carvers use them and will be full of advice. Some of it is even good. 😉

    Ah yes, the sermon on the mount. There are many parts of it that I’m sure were in there that apparently got edited out. “Blessed are dogs, for they shall bring joy to our lives.” I’m sure that was in there?!?

    Yes, there were leaves under the snow. Many leaves. Much snow. Now there is no snow. Now there are no leaves. There is a lot of mushy stuff where the leaves once were. So, I’ll rake the yard, get the gucky stuff added to the veggie patch and the compost pile. Leaves? Dunno where they went. 🙂

    Inheritance as a tool for abuse, etc.? Yup, seen that a few times. I watched someone close to me kowtow to a rich relative who was rather a nasty piece of work. Didn’t want to lose out, right? Well, when the rich rellie died, my friend was not mentioned at all in the will. Got abused, said nothing, got nothing. But “It’s nice to be nice.”

    You surmise correctly. I’ve never been to your Sunbury either. How could you have possibly guessed that? 🙂 Glad to hear it has trains and a lot of your commercial necessities. Better to go there than the Big Smoke, I would guess.

    A 150kg kangaroo? Great Holy Zarquon! That would have been a nasty thing to meet if it were hungover or in any kind of bad mood. I’ve seen too many videos of modern kangaroos boxing. And kick boxing. They’re tough. 150kg of angry kickboxing feralness? Ouch. Great name for an ale, though.

    Lunch and ale and modest needs. Good stuff. I have a standing invitation each Wednesday to visit my favorite TINY specialty store. The owner and a friend, and now me, meet on Wednesdays for lunch. The other guy picks something up and brings it in, then we pay him. No ale, but a nice time with 3 old guys talking and joking. Here’s a link to the place. There’s a nice article about the owner.

    Yes, a dryland meadow. Sorta dryland but watered enough to constitute a “green zone”. I hope the wildflowers work out. The area currently has thyme and some succulents, so these might mix with the grasses to some degree. We’ll see. I’ll let you know later this year how it’s doing.


  25. Hi Steve,

    It’s a complicated mess, isn’t it? And you’re absolutely right too, there is a hint of randomness to the background stories of people who go off the rails. It is a subject which fascinates me as well. After all, I had a ringside seat as to how my two older sisters navigated their way through the same circumstances. Incidentally, they travelled very different paths. The middle kid fell under the spell of drugs, and the older one had to be responsible from such a young age that there was a level of disdain in our relationship. So I cut ties with both of them from my late teenage years and have never looked back. On a side story: you get a lot of judgement for doing that. I don’t really know whether there is some key period of childhood where fate is locked in. My belief is that personality is to a certain extent hard wired, and as to the remainder, we have a small amount of free will to exercise, and in order to obtain more scope, you have to build upon the existing strength of will. Not a task that most people wish to do. Life experience moulds and shapes the hard wired personality is how I see things.

    On an interesting note, we got the two Kelpie’s as 12 week old pups from a local farmer who had a large litter, and these two were the rejects of the litter. Their personalities were formed and clearly defined at that age. Sure they’ve grown since then and have a larger range of traits, but the core personality is still the same. What I’m noticing them doing over the years is working out how to navigate the household whilst pushing at boundaries and accepting limits.

    Thanks for letting me know about your background. You know, some people when faced with those circumstances learn how to avoid those fates. Unfortunately, that does require a level of conscious choices which results in being somewhat responsible – responsibility as a trait is not as common as you’d imagine. And there is always the fun prospect of making new and interesting mistakes – then muddling through for next time. Far out!

    Hehe! The thought of a 2023 project list is a bit scary, yeah! 🙂 You may note that I rarely announce plans ahead of projects being commenced – as you have likewise done. Hey, the press cake idea is a really great idea and I’d not considered doing that – the nut trees need a few more years of growth before they’re where your lot are at.

    Oh, I hear you about that. Everyone wants a personally guaranteed warning in advance with exact timing. Yup, the storm clouds, they’re a brewing.



  26. Hi DJ,

    Man, I just don’t see the point of discussing politics. To me it looks like a system which can consume personal energy, dissipating the energy and producing very little in the way of outcomes. Best not to get sucked into that system (look what happens with people who are sucked in), but there is another unpleasant dimension to the subject (which is at the core of why I shut such conversations down): As an outsider to your country, it is not lost on me that folks in your country have a great deal of difficulty discussing the subject with any level of objectively. There is always this undercurrent of trying to convince the person on the other end of the conversation, and last I checked, that ain’t dialogue. It’s a learned strategy which is driven from the top down and repeated over and over and over again in your country. I’m very wary whenever I observe highly emotive reactions, and that subject seems to tap directly into that minefield. It needn’t be that way, but it is – and there are heaps of other venues on the interweb to discuss such matters. It could take over here and cause undue distress.

    Yes, separating savings and loans banks and the mercantile banks is a common sense move. Interestingly, I don’t believe that separation has ever been in place down under. Back in the day, there used to be local home loan co-operatives usually run by accountants or lawyers. Possibly a thing which is not exciting enough for some folks! Hehe!

    Oh, what have you got against yoghurt? I like yoghurt, but I guess not everyone has the enzyme in their guts which allows them to process the acids. It happens… 🙂 The problem is with acronyms there is scope for me to misinterpret your meaning (and have some fun!). It was also not lost on me that in your reply you were ambiguous and suggestive as to which definition it was, but not definite. And you thought I was half asleep! You were wrong, I’m only a quarter asleep! Hehe!

    Yes, yes, of course. I understand completely where you are coming from with the bandsaw, and other power tools. I had not considered that aspect and appreciate your correction. Your response is also a nod to the power and beauty of hand tools. Hey, the drawknife turned up in the mail today, and I cut and roughly squared off a billet (is that the correct word) from a dead tree branch for the axe handle project. I’ll let it sit for a few more months out of the weather seasoning before shaping it. I’ll put up a photo next week. But everything is now in place for the work.

    I reckon Mark Twain also mentioned that bit about dogs being left out of the sermon. 🙂

    Your leaves appear to have broken down into moosh rather rapidly after the snow melted. Mate, it’s like the decade or so of coffee ground additions to the soil, you’d expect that sooner or later the soil began smelling of coffee, but no. Leaves stand no chance.

    Dead men’s money is no good when it comes with strings. It’s not lost on me that puppet masters use strings. There might be something in that, but then again I may be talking total rubbish.

    Yeah, the local Sunbury is alright.

    It’s a bit frightening, but not quite as scary as a three tonne wombat. For your interest the largest kangaroos nowadays are the red kangaroos. The biggest of those was something like 2.1m at a weight of 90kg. No lightweight. We get the slightly smaller forest grey kangaroos, and over the years I’ve startled some rather large bull grey kangaroos in the orchard – and was equally startled in return. Over on the island state of Tasmania, they don’t have kangaroos, but instead do have the same wallabies as here (smaller again) and the tiny pademelon (even smaller again).

    Good stuff, and total respect. Nothing finer than that. 🙂

    I look forward to reading about your meadow. You may have to every couple of years drop the lot with a mower in order to restore the soil fertility. Or you could do that job in patches, like drop a little bit of the meadow every year rather than the whole lot at once.



  27. Hi Lewis,

    I did some serious soul searching about the subject of politics over the past few months, and you know, the last state and federal election results – and we have compulsory voting and upright vote counts – kind of suggested to me that the things which concern me about politics, few others cared about. I took that message on-board and made the decision that I can’t care more about things which probably should be cared about, that few others seemed bothered by. A dude’s gotta pick his fights, and so I’ll focus my energies on the things that matter to me which I can do something about. Politics sure, it’s important, but I reckon most people will choose self interest every time, even if the outcome harms people they know. Bonkers, but as I remarked to DJ, that biz can eat all your energy, burn you up, and then some. Best not to engage, it’s a dead end.

    Yeah, I know that act, I believe, separated the savings and loans banks, and the mercantile banks. History suggests that perhaps that outcome wasn’t exciting enough, and here we are today – it sure is exciting out there! 🙂 I don’t believe we’ve ever had that separation down here, but we have a different banking landscape with a concentration of a handful of behemoths.

    Hey, I spotted the frogs frolicking in the dogs water bowl this evening. And there is a big bull kangaroo on his lonesome hanging out in the orchards. We had to check in on the chickens – rat patrol – and shoo him away. He didn’t go far. He’s big, and may have been kicked out of his mob by a young buck. Dunno where he goes during the day, probably not too far.

    Pottered around today just doing things here and there that needed doing. Went to the local plumbing supplies to pick up a large PVC pipe connector which has an bend. Now I don’t know whether they’re messing around with me, but over the years I’ve had people call them 45 degrees, whilst other people call them 135 degrees. I can see the argument from either point of view. But inevitably when I ask for one of the pipe connectors with a bend I’ll call it by a name (I used 135 degrees today) and they look at me funny like, before saying: ‘you mean a 45 degree’. I think of parsnips, pull a blank face and reply: ‘yeah’. I’m sure they’re messing around with me.

    Just after that, a local bloke who I speak with occasionally, in the acquaintance category, asked me if I would do some paid work for him. Just wouldn’t take no for an answer, we’re flat out with no extra capacity. Anyway, I had to pull the big gun: We’re having this week off work. Put an end to it, maybe.

    What works I read of the poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, were outstanding. From reading of the poets bohemian history, you can well understand how the line about burning the candle at both ends came about.

    Ah, the yearly sale sounds like a good money spinner for the Master Gardeners. Fund raisers are a good idea, but often what I’ve noted with groups is that the members often do the heavy lifting.

    Did you get a chance to see what the soil looked like in the garden bed they were refurbishing with new top timbers? Always interesting to see the differences.

    We’ve discovered that three rats are breaking into the greenhouse and consuming some of the tomatoes. Can’t have that, can we? The war is back on again! Dealing with rats is like playing a game of whack-a-mole, and you know that sooner or later, you’re going to lose out to them.

    More bank shenanigans today. Peace deals getting brokered that neither of our countries were involved in. Oil prices are down. A Banksy was destroyed. Mate, there’s some stuff going on for sure! Both our countries may be left behind if we’re not careful.

    I hear you about that, and got to experience the new bushfire building standards following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. The application was in process when the fires hit. An exciting time, like in a bad way on many fronts. Believe it or not, the forecast for Saturday is for 99’F. How bonkers hot is that for this time of year? Should ripen some more of the tomatoes.

    Many years ago a mate of mine who’s parents arrived from Italy in the late 1960’s told me that his parents stopped doing the Tomato Sauce thing because it was cheaper to buy the stuff from the shops. My friend was pretty annoyed about it, but couldn’t get them to change their minds. You never really know, but I got the impression the parents wanted to leave that stuff behind them. Progress and stuff, huh?

    It’s weird that incident of yours. Some people are bad apples, and you have to be careful that once isn’t a pattern. If you see the dude, maybe don’t engage, and don’t feed the beast. I’ve met folks over the years who feed off the emotional energy of others, they’re an odd bunch those lot. I’m sure you’ve met a few of them as well?

    Yeah, inflation is going to be a problem. I think it’s going to be a real big problem. Not sure what can be done about it other than riding the wild tiger, and hope we don’t get bitten. Those big cats have sharp teeth. Your countries ability to export its inflation is being curbed, and there are unfortunately consequences to that, and I don’t believe that the political lot will back away from failed policies. Who gives themselves a pay and perquisite cut? Self interest, right up to the bitter end. I wish it were not so.



  28. @ Inge – I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Sigh. Getting older, we lose mates (as Chris calls them). Vast Panorama of Nature, and all that. But we don’t have to like it. Lew

  29. Yo, Chris – Yes, unless something startling happens, I try and ignore all the political stuff. I dismiss it as “gossip.” There’s always been a lot of talk over here (back to the 1980s), about people voting against their own best interests. Oh, well. Their look-out. But, unfortunately, they take the rest of us along for the ride.

    Yes, the really gutting of the banking brakes started in the 80’s. And then there was the Savings & Loan debacle. You’d think that would wave a lot of red flags. Savings and Loan, or Savings and Loan and Investments?

    Sounds like the frogs are setting up a spa, in the dog’s water dish. Next, they’ll be asking you to do their accounting. 🙂

    Millay was quit the Bohemian. I’ve read several biographies, about her. I think the latest was “Savage Beauty.” Speaking of Bohemians, I finished the biography of the artist John Singer Sargent. It was interesting. He was a Victorian, and rather starchy. He had this impenetrable veneer of respectability, but had his moments. But always carefully monitored and never enough to cause scandal. On one hand, it may have put him under a lot of pressure. On the other, it was just so ingrained in his life, as to become habit. Anyway, he was an interesting fellow (as was his family and friends) and he created some really nice art.

    Well, the soil in the other bed looked rather brown 🙂 . Some of the soil ended up, for storage, in my bed. Now, the soil that came out of that plot, was from gardeners who just use a lot of chemical fertilizers. So there’s not a lot of organic material in it. Nor, are there any worms.

    The big push to replace the stringers, will be in two weeks. Appropriate tools, and a bit more man power is lined up for then. So I’ve got a lot to do, in the meantime. I’d like to get my border dug out, to free up the top stringer. So the others don’t have to do it. Give them a leg up. And, I think I want to pot up 5 more parsley, and 15 Elephant Garlic. Also, maybe five Vinca, out of my bed. It’s a ground cover. Elinor has another ground cover, in her bed, which is getting a bit out of hand. It’s called “Snow in Summer.” I think I can get about 5 potted up, of it.

    I don’t know. As a country, it might not be a bad thing to be a quiet backwater. 🙂 Given globalization, do any of those exist? Maybe, Cuba …

    Well, maybe your friend could have claimed his Italian parents passata equipment, and made his own? Probably, not. Well, what are you going to do? When the “old ways” become more expensive, than to buy at the store? It’s pretty much one of the things that brought the Shakers, down. Is it laziness, thrift, or that modern life gets so complicated that the time needed for the old ways get short shrift? All of the above? Things get pushed from necessity to hobby. Lew

  30. Hi Lewis,

    Yes, all too true and as they say: ‘You’re only ever as good as the weakest link’, and there sure are some weak links out there. From a bigger picture perspective, it’s a strange time right now. Many of the policies which have been pursued for many decades, have now reached (or gone beyond) their end point in terms of usefulness, so we’re in a weird confluence of nothin’ goin’ right and a whole bunch of stuff goin’ wrong! And the general political discourse is just one of those policies. As a civilisation, we never really recovered from the oil shocks of the early 1970’s and kind of papered over things since then. But credit where credit is due, it’s been an astounding ride. I wouldn’t have picked this path, but look what happened to Jimmy Carter…

    The banking shenanigans are another of those failing policies. A confluence of poop, perhaps? 🙂 There’s a lot of talk about lowering interest rates, but I reckon that will let the biggerer inflation genie out of the bottle, not to mention some other things. Few people talk about taxing super wealthy folks, or cutting government expenditure. Viable options and ways out of the maze, although it won’t fix the underlying issues – which never really went away.

    Hehe! That’s funny, yeah, maybe they will. 🙂

    That’s a good title for a biography on the poet. Oh my, what a hornets nest. The interweb is good for some things. A quick comparison of the compositions of Madame Gautreau, between the painters: Gustave Courtois; Antonio de La Gándara; and John Singer Sargent, was quite a straightforward activity. Mr Sargent’s work was far and away the superior portrait. The sensitive person would have to suggest that there was some cultural cringe at play in the reception of the work? Hmm. I guess it can be quite shattering to egos to discover that the colonials are better, and such things need not be discussed in high society by not doing so.

    Very funny about your observation of the soil. 🙂 Unfortunate that so many chemical fertilisers were used, still it’s not the end of the world, and the soil might benefit from hanging out in your raised beds for a little while. Just hopefully they didn’t also go overboard with herbicides. It always surprises me that people attempt to both grow plants and kill them all at the same time. It’s a level of brain twisting that may end up with a scanners style head explosion if I dwell upon the subject overly long. Ook! What were we talking about? The brain wisely goes on to other topics, thus avoiding the explosion – dodged a bullet there you have to admit? 😉

    From what I’ve observed of soil, you can end up with a sort of stable black sandy loam, and that doesn’t have a lot of compost worms or earthworms, but it will grow vegetables just fine. Worms have already been through that sort of soil and done what they needed to do. I reckon there’d be worm eggs in there just waiting to consume the root systems of dead plants, or if you chuck leaves, vegetable scraps or woody mulch etc. in there and the moisture levels are just right. More likely to see earthworms than compost worms though in such a soil.

    We got to have a good look at one section of soil on the property today. Such things inevitably involve a lot of digging as you’d imagine, and so we dug soil for many hours. The day began as a cool and cloudy day, and we headed down to the previous excavations at the large shed and continued digging up until mid afternoon when we stopped for lunch. We’ve excavated a huge chunk of soil and made a decent sized flat site. You could see that the first couple of feet of soil were dry, but below that, the clay retained heaps of moisture. The plan is to extend the large shed – AKA mead hall.

    Ah, vinca = periwinkle. A very interesting plant for all sorts of reasons. An old timer around here once advised me to take note when those plants suffered during summer conditions, because that indicated there was a very high fire risk.

    Is Elinor’s snow in summer the plant: Cerastium tomentosum? A very useful plant, although I hear what you say as it does have something of a reputation for taking over.

    Hehe! Looking into my crystal ball I spy that eventually we’ll all probably become quiet little backwaters. 🙂 Time will tell how that comes to be.

    Things get pushed from necessity to hobby is my go-to excuse. None of this stuff that we do here makes any economic sense. And that’s something of a problem. What can you do other than just keep on keeping on? It’s like today, I didn’t have to dig soil for hours and hours, but it brings me enjoyment, the job needed doing, and it saved us having to pay for hire equipment to do the job in far less time. But I could also have easily earned more mad cash by working. Sometimes, you just have to close your ears to the realities and do what needs doing.

    Thanks so much for the article on Notre-Dame. The old timers discovered the same thing I’d noted about single layered brick walls. Bricks being a poor substitute for stone. The single layer walls have a lot of free play and need tying together with something stronger than mortar! Why not use iron staples in the top row of stones? To my inexperienced eye, the staples looked as though someone had hand chiselled them in and there were locking ends at either end of the iron staples. Kinda like a cartoon drawing of a bone. Very effective, but my mind wondered how the staples hadn’t rusted away to iron oxide in the presence of all that oxygen over the centuries. A mystery, and clearly the iron is very pure in its composition. A couple of decades ago I’d seen an Indian iron pillar which was so pure that despite being many centuries old, it hadn’t rusted. Metallurgists way back in the day were also subject to the whims of economics! Yes, we can do what you ask, but it’s gonna cost ya. Here’s that contract and where’s the mad cash gold? 🙂

    Tomorrow is going to be a very dangerous day here due to high temperatures and strong winds. Fingers crossed that everything works out alright.



  31. Hi Lewis (cont)…

    Almost forgot to mention. The turmeric tuber has finally produced a tiny little green shoot. Now, it may be an errant grass seed which had gotten into the tub, but I think not. 🙂 You did say that it would take a while. Talk about slow growing.



  32. Hi, Chris!

    I have just gotten to read your essay this week. I have been laid very low with a stomach virus I caught over at my mother’s assisted living place. I didn’t feel like reading anything at all. Anyway, I am back on my feet, a bit rubbery they are – head is somewhat in fairyland, and have to get back to work. Hope to relax later and comment. I very much enjoyed your thoughts this week.

    Thanks for the flowers!


  33. Yo, Chris – Oh, there’s always a lot of loose talk about taxing the wealthy or cutting government expenditures. Seems like there’s always this and that slipped into bills that make the comfortable, more comfortable. And when it comes to government expenditures, the first place they look to cut is what’s called “the social safety net.” Some refer to my Social Security Payments, which I paid into all my life long, as an “entitlement.” So, for 50 years, the government got to play with my money. I’d like it back. With interest, please. 🙂

    As far as the social service programs go, sure, there’s a bit of fraud. (See: Welfare Queens.) But not as much as made out. Instead of cutting programs, how about beefing up enforcement? We have a Worker’s Compensation Fund (for those injured on the job), in the State. They’re pretty good at ferreting out the slackers.

    The Federal Government has a program, called SSI (Supplemental Security Income.) Believe me, it’s not easy to get. I worked for a lawyer, once, who specialized in those cases. And, you pretty much need a lawyer, to get it. The case that sticks in my mind, was the woman in a wheel chair, with both her feet amputated, who was turned down.

    Ah, Madame Gautreau. Also known as Madame X. Although all Paris knew who she was. Walked a very fine line. Was married, so, “respectable.” But her main squeeze was another of Sargent’s “sitters,” “Dr. Pozzi, at Home.” He originally painted Madam X with one of her straps, slipped. Everyone had the vapors, he thought better of it, and repainted it with both her dress straps, firmly anchored. 🙂

    How colonial was Sargent? He was born in Florence, Italy, and belonged to one of those American families, that migrated from spa to spa, city to city. Other than a few brief trips, to America when he was a teen, he didn’t spend a great deal of time here until around WWI.

    Well, luckily, none of the Inmates Who Garden, seem particularly “into” herbicides and insecticides. They just throw chemical fertilizer, at everything. Occasionally, a bag of compost. Often, their soil seems pretty crusty.

    Business must be good, if you’re going to build an extension onto the mead hall. 🙂 In the mystery series, I watched, “Whitstable Pearl,” they have an oyster stout. Seems to go over, pretty well.

    I’d say the top of the Notre Dame walls were pretty firmly capped. Kept out the water for sure, and maybe a good deal of the oxygen?

    Well, we had a frost, last night. Got down to 28F. Looking at the forecast, I wonder if that will be our last frost? Sounds like you’re going to have a nervous day, weather wise. I hope they got all those controlled burns, from last week, safely out.

    I had an interesting experience, last night. Abe, the fireman who also does a bit of cooking, happened to sit down next to me, when we were outside having a cuppa. Now I’ve never really had a long conversation with him. He’s a bit shy and reticent. But I asked him, if he read much. Oh my gosh! It was like he was struck with Biblio Glossolalia! The floodgates opened. I’d say, here’s a fellow who reads, and doesn’t have anyone to talk to, about what he reads.

    I’m reading “The Accidental Detectorist: Uncovering an Underground Obsession.” (Richardson, 2022). Richardson is a travel writer, who was grounded due to You Know What. He’d watched the series “The Detectorists” (so did I, and thoroughly enjoyed it), and happened to run into a detectorist, over his garden wall. So, he decided to take up the “hobby.” I’m quit enjoying the book. He’s cleaver, funny, and occasionally a bit naughty. 🙂

    I had a funny thought, last night. I don’t know how many books I’ve read in the last year, that were written because of the lock downs. Not so much about being locked down, as having the enforced time to maybe pull out that old manuscript or book idea that had been rattling around in someone’s head, for a long time. I wonder if it will become a book genre? “Lock Down Lit.” There might even be a doctoral dissertation, in there. I can’t say it’s all good, but some of it is.

    Our food box just arrived. Report to follow 🙂 Dig out your legend. Lew

  34. Yo, (again) Chris – Re: Turmeric. I hope a rat doesn’t nip it off. They like their greens!

    So. The box. * goes to the Institution swap table, # goes to The Club, and + I keep for myself. No symbol? I haven’t decided.
    4 small frozen boneless pork chops, a 1 lb. of ground pork. 1 lb. unsalted butter+ (I almost bought a pound at the grocery, last night. But at over $5, decided I could wait.) 1 doz. medium eggs +, a loaf of pretty good bread – organic grains & seeds +, a plastic clamshell of 1 lb of blueberries … from Chile+, 2 packs of chicken ramen*, a 3oz packet of “real” bacon bits … with Hickory Smoked Flavor Added*, a pkt of taco seasoning mix*, a pkt of hot cocoa mix*, a 1lb pack of spaghetti pasta*, a pkt of Grandma’s Chili Seasoning*, 1 pound of dried pinto beans*, 2 boxes of mac and cheese, a box of long grain and wild rice mix (with other natural flavors)+, a 2lb canister of Jasmine rice, a box of 10, individual grape drink packets*, a 1lb box of raisins#, 1 box of Fruity Pebbles Cereal#, a jar of peanut butter.#

    The tinned stuff: 1 large and 1 small tin of tomato sauce, one 24 oz “Traditional” pasta sauce*, 2 fruit mix in juice*, 2 tins chicken#, 1 refried beans+, tomato soup*, green beans*, corn#, baked beans*, and mixed veg.* Oh, and an individual blueberry mini-pie*. Not a bad batch. The usual wheat and chaff 🙂 . Some of it seems a bit dodgy. A bit suspect. But that’s just me. Lew

  35. Hi Lewis,

    Had to laugh, but I don’t doubt you about slipping in stuff to make the comfortable more comfortable. It’ll come to a bad end, and frankly I’m uncomfortable about their comfort, whoever they are. 🙂 Anyway, given how much welfare your banking system has received over the past decade and a half, any propping up of the social safety net is probably relatively super cheap. Good luck! It astounds me that people seem OK with that banking welfare.

    I hear those stories about fraud, and sure some of it goes on, but my gut feeling suggests that it isn’t as widespread as some may consider. Anyway, much bigger issues in the banking sector never seem to be brought to account, so maybe the talk is a smokescreen or distraction technique? Look over here, don’t worry about what is going on over there! 😉

    Down here, investigators are used to ferret out such nonsense, but if people are injured in a workplace, they probably need some assistance because their life has become irrevocably altered and probably not in a good way.

    However, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that wherever there is a large sum of mad cash, it’ll attract flies and hangers-on like a big dirty dog stank – I mean look at the handout the banking sector is getting. And they get that in return for what, is the question that is on my mind.

    I’ve heard of some insurance policies where if you don’t tick the right box and pay the right premium, the footless amputee in the wheelchair might not be able to claim for the injury because after all, she could answer a phone for a job in a call centre. Hmm. Don’t need feet for that job. It’s a brutal system.

    Ah yes, John Sargent sought fame via shock yo momma tactics, and the respectables were having none of it. All shenanigans to the side, John Sargent’s portrait was the best of the bunch. It was notable that the artist decamped to London after the escapade and Madame chose to enjoy some quiet time out, but apparently still carried on, whatever that means. I have an odd hunch that the English at the time would have rather enjoyed the discomfiture of the French high society.

    My gut feeling was that WWI was a turning point for Europe. The good citizens there may not have gotten that message, but that ain’t my problem.

    You’re in a good position with which to assess your peers soil. Crusty might work, but is it any good? We began the process of picking the many dozens of squashes this evening. Took away a decent sized bucket of them this evening, and there’ll be more yet to get us through the winter months.

    With the weather forecast predicting dire conditions here today, I abandoned all outside plans and simply did paid work which was backing up after a week off. The old timers used to say: make hay whilst the sun shines, and yeah it was way too hot and windy out there today regardless. Anyway, we appear to have survived intact and the cooler weather swept in as the sun fell below the horizon. In the late afternoon air with the sun shining at full ferocity, you could smell the scent of flowers, particularly the roses. It was quite nice really, despite the heat of the Indian summer.

    Business be crackin’, my friend. 🙂 We actually are at capacity right now. The profession has become rather unpleasant due to a number of factors including legislated enforced artificial urgency, and the old timers are dropping out – not to mention other folks taking time out to attend to family stuff, i.e. having kids. Hmm. There’s a shortage of people wanting to do the work. We’re trying to strike a balance between paid work, and developing the property here. It ain’t easy to find that balance, and people are candidly pushing upon our boundaries. It’s an option to do that pushing, I guess, but I dunno I wouldn’t recommend trying it. The other day I was horrified to see a customer at the general store (never seen the person before) almost shouting ‘hello’ at a person who worked there in order to get their attention. Apparently the person wanted special attention and table service, which the business doesn’t do, table service that is. You order at the counter. Wealth has not improved peoples manners and how they perceive themselves to be.

    That doesn’t surprise me about the oyster stout. The mushroom stout was superb, it’s really hard to wrap my mind around that observation about the mushroom stout, but it’s true. Nothing wrong with a bit of experimentation with brews.

    The Editor mentioned trying to track down the recent Bryan Brown series you mentioned. And in breaking sad news it seems like Sam Neill is not doing so crash hot: Sam Neill reveals diagnosis of stage-three blood cancer in memoir. Sorry to be the one to mention it. The bloke is a fine actor.

    More like water would be a problem than the oxygen at the top of the Notre-Dame walls. I’m thinking that the top may have been capped in some sort of mortar which may have been removed during the repairs, but I can’t really tell by the photos. A close look at the staples shows that the hollows in the stone were cut roughly in to the stone but then filled with who knows what so that the staples had little movement. It’s a pretty clever solution and would have saved some mad cash by allowing the walls to be made thinner than say a castle with stone buttressing and multiple layers of stone. Makes you wonder how far down into the walls the staples were used? For all we know, there may be vertical staples used as ties in lower parts of the stone walls. Anyway, why is the building a dame?

    That is cold. Brr! Definitely a couple of extra blankets sort of a night.

    And you appear to have called that correctly. Looks like some controlled burns may have been lit yesterday, but way closer to the coast than here. Seems a bit foolish to have done so, but I’m not responsible for that work.

    Ah, Abe sounds as if he has certain gifts. Good luck. Mate, years ago I went to a comedy festival show which was really very sweet: The Aspie Hour. It was rather awkward for me when the young female performer chose to sit on my lap during a part of the performance, but hmm… I did mention to the Editor that it was a bad idea to sit near to the front row, but do I get listened to? Anyway, the young lady performer mentioned that she had troubles with dating because of her deep interest in musical theatre. The old timers used to say that there’s a lid for every pot, and it’s true. Abe probably needs a little gentle steering if you ask my opinion, which you didn’t, but all the same, it’s good advice. 🙂 Additionally, I’m coming around to the opinion that many folks don’t read these days, and it does make the sensitive person wonder if literacy rates are returning to their historical norms?

    What a book! One advantage of the interweb is that a person can read many pages from the book you mentioned, and what a lovely space it was to spend time in, with a touch of darkness as you hinted at. How does anyone make detectoring funny? I’m genuinely impressed at the prose. But also know of folks who have that hobby, quite successfully too. Lot’s of silver from the stories I hear third hand. Thanks for the book recommendation.

    Yes, I’m also hearing of some creative works taking shape during lock down. It is an interesting subject isn’t it? The Irish comedian Dylan Moran is over for the comedy festival and I read an article which said pretty much that – he had free time, and chose to use it to develop an idea. It was not lost on me that in ol’ George’s book we spoke of a month or two back, the party workers worked super long hours. Hmm.

    Man, so thanks to your recent legend innovation, I was trying to ascertain a pattern as to what stuff goes where. Then putting the theory to the test, and clearly the theory needs further work! 🙂 The butter sure was expensive, and yes things are on the up down here too. Makes a person nervous as to the future. Nice score with the refried beans, but the thought of fruity pebbles cereal kind of distresses my brain – hope it doesn’t explode.



  36. Hi Pam,

    Oh my, so sorry to hear that and hope you recover soon.

    Please take things easy, and look after yourself. Keep up your fluids and get plenty of rest young lady! 🙂 Hehe!

    Thanks, and there should be more flowers in a couple of days time.



  37. Yo, Chris – Sargent was never without work. Even when art tastes began to change, there were plenty of old families with old money who wanted a Sargent portrait, or six. 🙂 He swore time and again, that he would give up portraits. He got tired of hearing, “There’s something about the mouth that isn’t quit right …” But some were friends, or friends of friends, and if you wave enough money… He was working right up until the day he died.

    I’ve been watching the weather radar, and thought I was seeing a lot of migrating birds. Shazam! Prof. Mass did a post about it, today.

    The “Hello” person was obviously not from around there. And don’t you love the people who snap their fingers at a wait person? Don’t you just want to bend their fingers back, until something snaps?

    Yes, I read an article about Sam Neill, last night. Apparently, the treatments worked, and he’s now cancer free. And, back to work.
    I have a couple more episodes of the Bryan Brown series, to watch. “Darby and Joan.” Just out of curiosity, I looked to see if there’s to be a second season. Hasn’t been canceled, but hasn’t been renewed. Most of it is filmed in Queensland. Wow. That sure is diverse and beautiful country. I saw a sign in one episode: “Yabby Capitol of the World.” I felt very smug. I know what those are. 🙂

    In the documentary I watched, they said that the weight of the roof, might have pushed the course of stones out. Hence, the staples.

    People read, but is what they read interesting? My friend Scott reads, but I have problems working up any enthusiasm. His tastes run to Buddhism, a few fantasy series, and the Jack Reacher books. None of which I find even mildly interesting.

    There’s a bit of tension, between archaeologists and detectorists. The author touches on that, in one of the chapters. It really seems to be a bit of a class / education kind of tension. And, the whole outlook is different. Some archaeologists value the information you can get from items, but not the item itself. Detectorists are more interested in the connection they can make with people, across time. LOL. And, there’s the one-upsmanship. The competition for the coolest finds. Never mind monetary value.

    Well, here, we are nothing if not innovative. 🙂

    I see my interlibrary loan of the Orwell lectures, is on it’s way. I know you had some questions, or sneaking suspicions, about Orwell. Let’s see if I get it right. That perhaps he had a … yen for the type of society portrayed in “1984”. Was that it, or have I lost the plot? I guess I just want to keep my eyes and ears open, for what you were wondering about. Lew

  38. Hi Lewis,

    Compared to the other two artists, Sargent’s work had a mastery of exactitude sort of like what the Dutch masters produced. You could almost denote the haughty expression of Madame X, don’t you reckon? The other two artists had a slight impressionism about their work, but I’m no expert in these matters. Working right up to the end is probably the lot of the competent! 🙂 Didn’t we discuss that the Big J was quoted as having said: Blessed are the competent, for they shall be busy. Truer words…

    The dopler radar images of the northward bird migration were interesting. I’ve never seen a large migration of birds, down here they tend to mostly hang around all year long. The food sources up north of you must be quite prized for all those birds to take the trip up there. Or maybe they’re fleeing the southern summers?

    Exactly, the bloke was most likely from elsewhere, otherwise he would not have acted the way he did. The thing is, a lot of people are visiting from out of the area and it creates a strain on the local resources (which there isn’t all that much of) especially when the folks have bad attitudes and expectations which can’t be delivered upon. And with a number of businesses for sale, if they close down, the locals lose out.

    I’ve heard of people snapping their fingers to attract attention, but have not yet seen such a thing take place. Mate, I wouldn’t communicate with the dogs like that.

    Ah, the articles I read on Sam Neill did not mention that good outcome. Well done to him!

    We’ve been unable to track down the series, but a person can only but keep trying. It is something of a backwater here! 😉 Oh yeah, Queensland is a truly massive state. The continent is about 80% of the size of your country, and yet there are only six states and two territories (a territory being something less than a state, and run by the Federal government, but even they’re big like the Northern Territory). You’ve got like what, 52 states. Queensland by comparison is big. Even the little state of Victoria has the same land mass as the entire UK, but with something like 12x less people. It’s quiet, and I like the quiet. But up north, they have a huge number of ecosystems. Certainly it would be a challenge to govern.

    And if ever you get the chance, try a yabby. So good, so tasty.

    That makes sense about the downwards and outwards pressure of the roof necessitating the iron staples. Thicker walls ain’t cheap! I told you peak rocks was a real thing.

    Oh yes, that is a complicated triangle of books. Best not to engage. I know very little of the Jack Reacher series, but many years ago a friend asked me to watch one of the films. It was OK, the best thing about the film was that the protagonist was happy to catch the Greyhound bus to get around long distances. That action was meant to convey cultural meanings I guess.

    The section of the detectorist book I read mentioned the tension, and noted that one canny archaeologist decided to engage with the detectorists and include them in digs. Healing the rift and getting useful insights at the same time. Yeah, you could smell the competitive nature of the detectorists as there was a brief section in the book written about a camp out with other interested folks going over a freshly ploughed field.

    Hehe! Yes, your system is innovative and is keeping me guessing as to what goes where.

    That was it, and no you haven’t lost the plot. Ol’ George was dirty for that future. I’ve raised that concern in other corners of the interweb and was shouted down. The arguments against my insight were that the author had penned letters saying no, no, no, not into it. But he was. I carefully read every single word of that book, and at no point did the author even suggest that the future he wrote about was a bad thing, far from it actually. Man, he was dying of tuberculosis, had fought in the civil war in Spain on the side of the err, left, and had enjoyed two world wars and a great depression – given all that, he had a plan. That’s my best guess based on the words the author used, and I reckon I’m right. It occurs to me that the opinion is unpalatable, and that is why it gets shouted down, but such actions don’t negate the validity of my argument.

    Better get writing!



  39. Yo, Chris – Well, hook up the trailer, run up to New South Wales, and you can scoop as much fish fertilizer as you can haul, out of a river. I guess there was a big fish kill, up that way.

    From what I read, “Madame X” was a tough one for Sargent, to paint. There were lots of studies, before he settled on a pose that just caught who she was. Modeling, striking a pose, is harder than people think. And Madame X was known to be quit indolent. 🙂

    One of Sargent’s favorite artists was Frans Hals. I’ve never been a fan. But on second look, I can see it. It’s the way Hals handled paint. Fast and loose, but capturing emotions.

    I suppose birds migrate for a lot of reasons. Food sources. And fairly quiet breeding grounds with fewer predators. The trek probably strengthens the gene pool, too. My friend Julia told me she saw a Ruby Throated Hummingbird, the other day. She had one little hummingbird who wintered over. How they survived that cold snap we had, I don’t know. And now the Ruby Throat has shown up.

    But can the locals, on their own, support local business? Not that I’m an advocate for being overrun by obnoxious outsiders.

    Well, that was a surprise. I see we still have 5 major US territories. And even more minor ones. Depends on if you count an uninhabited island, as a territory.

    We have something similar to a yabby. Our crawdad (or crawfish, or crayfish). We have them in the streams, around here. It’s been years, but I have had them, and they’re pretty tasty. Your yabby seem to be more terrestrial. More likely to go walk-about 🙂 . Ours pretty much stick to the water.

    Well, the way I sort the food boxes items, has a lot to do with personal prejudices, self interest and being charitable (?). An odd mix, I know. Julia suggested, yesterday, that I put up a donations can, for the pantry. I’ll run it by our Club president, and Mr. Bill our Club manager.

    LOL. You seem pretty invested in your theory of Orwell. 🙂 I’ll keep an eye and ear out, when the lectures show up. Hmmm. Maybe you have a bit of a yen, for the well ordered society of 1984? Lew

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